JACKSON, Miss., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Mississippi's governor called for an investigation into comments made by a local county councilman that encouraged black leaders to "throw rocks, bricks and bottles" at police.
Governor Phil Bryant condemned Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes's remarks as "reprehensible". The comments suggested residents should throw objects at law enforcement officials who attempt to chase suspects into Jackson from other jurisdictions.
"Mr. Stokes' remarks are reprehensible, particularly with the attacks we have seen against our men and women in law enforcement. I condemn any such remarks in the strongest possible manner. This is nothing short of an outright assault upon all who wear the badge. I will be asking Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate whether Mr. Stoke's remarks represent criminal threats against law enforcement officers," Bryant said.
Stokes' originally made the comments during an interview on Thursday where he said police from surrounding jurisdictions put children in danger as they chase suspects down neighborhood streets.
"What I suggest, we get the black leadership together, and as these jurisdictions come into Jackson, we throw rocks, bricks and bottles at them," he said. "That will send a message we don't want you in here."
Sheriff Randy Tucker of neighboring Madison County responded to the comments on Facebook:
"Any Madison County law enforcement that is attacked because your ignorant statements, I will hold you responsible," Tucker wrote. "I fully intend to contact the MS [Mississippi] Attorney General and inquire if your statements constitute assaults on officers by threat."
Stokes responded to the backlash by stating his support for police in pursuit of murders and bank robberies, but cites a Christmas Eve chase involving officers from three different jurisdictions as the source of his comments.
"These kind of chases put children in danger," he said. "The city council must take steps to address this recurring problem. Outside jurisdictions chasing suspects around Jackson neighborhoods must not be allowed."